Full text of meditation expert Dr. Shyam Bhat’s talk: Meditation – The Single Most Important Skill Needed Today at TEDxLavelleRoad conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Meditation – The Single Most Important Skill Needed Today by Dr. Shyam Bhat
Dr. Shyam Bhat- Psychiatrist, Integrative Medicine specialist, and writer
Over the last 15 years as a psychiatrist, I’ve used meditation in my practice to treat depression, anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and also medical conditions like hypertension, migraines, eczema, asthma, and a lot more.
And over the next 14 minutes or so, I’d like to share my thoughts about meditation, about why meditation is probably the single most important skill we can learn in today’s world. About how it helps our brain and also a brief demonstration of the practice.
So we’ve talked a lot about technology and there’s absolutely no doubt that we have done amazing things because as human beings, we have the most highly developed brain on this planet.
The crown jewel of evolution is our brain. And because of that we can create things, we can create technology, we have shaped and reshaped this planet. We can examine the smallest atom and sort of contemplate and actually go into space and everything in between.
But look at the statistics and you’ll realize that despite all these advances; despite all the technological and scientific advances, we have never been more miserable as a species.
A recent survey came out in America and it said that 13% of Americans take antidepressants. And this was before the Trump election, OK.
But India has no better, guys. Look at the statistics in our country now. We have at least 150,000 – 180,000 people who unfortunately kill themselves every year because of suicide in this country. And many of them ages between 15 and 29.
In the recent survey, they found that at least 40% of people living in corporate India; who work in corporate India have stress, anxiety, and depression.
You just have to examine our society- road rage, homicide, violent crime, divorce, isolation, loneliness, it’s all happening in this country.
Why is that? Why is it that we are able to advance so much, do so much with this brain and yet we suffer so badly?
Could the reason be that the source of our development and our progress is also the source of our pain and our suffering?
Because if you examine our brain, that’s unique. We have a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is more advanced, more developed than any other species. And it is that part of the brain that allows me to communicate with you, to produce an idea in the brain that becomes then basically vibrations that travel in the air and then interpret it as sound by your brain.
And then you hear the idea and then you of course you interpret the idea. It’s pretty remarkable what this brain is capable of.
It’s because of this brain that we are not subject to the whims and fancies of the natural environment that we can pause, we can think, we can contemplate the future. This brain is a virtual reality machine. You can actually contemplate multiple realities and decide what you want to do in your life and that’s how as a species we’ve been able to do so much better than any other species.
We are on top of the food chain, not because we are the strongest, we’re the fastest, but because of this unbelievable brain.
And yet it’s because of this brain that right now, even though you are here, your minds may be elsewhere. Some of you are listening, but many of you are thinking, I could watch a better show on YouTube.
It’s endless, this comparison… the brain is always saying: What’s happening here? What could it be like? This brain is saying, who am I? What is my story and what is happening to me now? Does it fit in with my story or do I want something different to happen?
It is this part of the brain that compares your life and causes your dissatisfaction. You get a great job, for a while it’s nice and then not so good. You want something more. You want a promotion, you get married and well, you know how it happens.
So very, very difficult brain, ladies and gentlemen.
And the funny thing about this brain is that it’s not interested in your happiness. It’s not interested in your fulfillment. It’s only interested in your survival and you feeling significant.